What does it mean to be emotionally intelligent? How can you teach emotional intelligence to children? Why is it important to be emotionally intelligent and to raise emotionally intelligent children? As parents, we are responsible for helping our children develop and grow into thriving productive adults. A big part of achieving that result is teaching our children how to express and manage their feelings appropriately while respecting and understanding the feelings of others.
There are many benefits from encouraging emotional intelligence in your kids that will benefit them throughout their lives. Children with high emotional intelligence (EQ) tend to have better friendships because they can manage conflict and develop deeper friendships. Children with higher levels of EQ have higher grades and tend to do better on standardized tests. Children with higher EQ have improved mental health and are typically less prone to suffer from mental illness or to experience depression. These are just some of the benefits of having emotional intelligence.
A child who can calm themselves down when angry or experiencing extreme emotions is likely to navigate difficult situations well. A child who can express emotions in a healthy way is better positioned to maintain healthier relationships in general than a child who screams or lashes out when upset. All children can learn emotional intelligence skills and it is never too late to start teaching them. A great opportunity to learn more as a parent about teaching your child emotional intelligence is our Positive Parenting course starting April 18. Visit here to learn more and to register.
Other ways to start teaching emotional intelligence include being aware of your child’s emotions, recognizing emotional expression as a teachable moment and an opportunity to demonstrate emotional intimacy, listening closely when children open up to you about their emotions, and validating your child’s feelings. Parents should not punish or dismiss their children for being emotional even when it is a negative emotion. This sends the message that their feelings are insignificant or “wrong” which many children will internalize as “they are wrong”. Instead, help them find ways of responding differently in the future. Include them in brainstorming alternative solutions to their situation and help them see that you are on their side and that it isn’t the end of the world.
The most effective and important way to teach emotional intelligence is by modeling the desired behavior yourself. Children watch everything their parents do and take their cues about how to respond to the world positively and negatively from you. Making sure as parents that we practice what we preach will ensure the lesson is learned and that your children have real-life examples of emotional intelligence in action to draw from.
Being part of a parenting community is a great way to find useful tools and resources that can help you teach your child about emotional intelligence and many other things. Click here to learn more about the Positive Parenting Journey community.